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Town Speaks Out For Openness In Government

Wallingford's Town Council denounces bill adding to secrecy

Hartford Courant Editorial

April 30, 2013

The more transparency in government, the more public officials will be held accountable to those they serve, and the better our system of governance will be.

That truth, a central part of Connecticut's decades-old Freedom of Information Act, was apparently ignored by members of the state legislature's Government Administration and Elections Committee when they advanced a bill that would have redefined what a "public meeting" is.

Fortunately, the bill won't go to a Senate vote. It's been stopped in its tracks. But why did it get so far?

The bill said that when leaders of political parties get together to negotiate a deal on pending legislation or to discuss the actions of the public agency they belong to, the proceedings would not be considered a "meeting" for the purposes of the FOI Act.

If passed, the bill would add to the list of secret meetings already deemed OK by state law, including sessions involving collective bargaining.

Connecticut doesn't need any more secrecy. The people ought to know what their government is doing.

The bill was recently denounced by Wallingford's Town Council, which overwhelmingly voted to oppose it. The council's resolution read, in part, "We do not believe that that this legislation will encourage trust and confidence between local government officials and their constituents." Well said.

It's rare for a town body to get involved in state legislation, but Wallingford was right to speak out against such secrecy.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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